Žilić returns to commence 2017 club review

With newly appointed Football Operations Manager, Josip Zilic, North Geelong Warriors FC has commenced its 2017 season review.

Encompassing senior, youth and Miniroos teams, the review’s primary goal is to re-establish a link between all teams.

For the female setup, this would eventually mean reinstalling a Senior Women’s team, after a large number of North Geelong players were selected in the initial NPLW team for Galaxy United.

For the Senior Men’s and Under 20 team, following this season’s relegation from NPL1, the immediate attention will turn towards rebuilding the squad.

Though obviously unable to currently specify on the team’s make-up, Zilic affirmed a local approach.

“Investing in our local talent is a must and bringing them to the main stage of the senior teams, amid a core of experience, will allow them to build in NPL,” he said.

“This plan will also bring with it a change in the club’s investment into areas that require a lift in expectation and standard, such as in and out of season conditioning, local talent identification, improved community football programs and technical analysis.

“After working through four years of NPL, we have now got the junior base to a point where each squad has a broad regional representation in it.

“We have players from St Leonards to Warrnambool, Ballarat and Geelong including a few from Werribee and Little River.

“I’m not sure how many clubs have that large a spread of geography within their structure and we’re particularly proud of that.”

According to Zilic, the goal for 2018 is to have half the players from either its youth teams or the Geelong region in a squad of 20.

Over the next three seasons, the eventual target is to have a minimum of eight players from junior setups in the starting eleven and 80 per cent representation in the entire 20-player squad.

The first opportunity these players will have will be at this year’s Croatian Soccer Tournament in Adelaide, coming up against the likes of Melbourne Knights, Sydney United and Canberra FC.

For Zilic and North Geelong Warriors FC, it will be an important first step in determining the squad’s make up for 2018.

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